Using a fork to eat a cheeseburger makes about as much sense as grilling beef steaks outside during a windy, freezing winter storm.
However, deconstruct that cheeseburger into a hearty soup, and a spoon is of course in place.
The following Instant Pot recipe for Cheeseburger Soup even includes potatoes. No, they are not crispy fried, but they add more weight and fullness to the meal.
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Dill pickles are even included in the version I found in the 512-page “The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes” (2019) cookbook with soft covers by Kristy Bernardo, Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri, Amy Rains and Stefanie Bundalo.
The popular food bloggers with different cooking perspectives share their best recipes for the multifunctional stove, making the cookbook a valuable resource. The cookbook is packed with colorful photographs for 240 different recipes, including several vegan, paleo- and gluten-free options.
When I was an Instant Pot newcomer, I appreciated the cookbook instructions that specify the appliance settings during each step of making a meal. With my many years of general cooking skills, I am able to make adjustments in spices and ingredients.
Cheeseburger soup is a hearty way to stretch a pound of minced hamburger meat for a satisfying meal, especially on a chilly winter night. Using Instant Pot means that the meat can be browned and pressure cooked in one container, which makes it easier to clean up.
In addition to cheddar, the soup also requires cream cheese, which sometimes prefers to gather in small lumps instead of mixing smoothly into the soup ingredients.
A trick to counteract this tendency is to let the cream cheese soften to room temperature before use. You can also speed up the softening by unpacking a lump of cream cheese and putting it in the microwave in a bowl at 50% power for about 20 seconds. Stir the cream cheese and, if not softened thoroughly, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir again.
My changes to the original recipe include adding green chili and garlic powder to boost the flavor and replace the red red potatoes that I had on hand with the red potatoes. I also reduce the pressure cooking time so that the potatoes retain more fullness.
Enjoy the soup with slices of a French baguette or other crispy bread.
Due to the cream cheese, the soup can not be frozen. Then use leftovers within three days after cooking.
Until warmer weather makes outdoor grilling possible, Cheeseburger Soup is a great reminder of these flavors.
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Share your favorite recipes or food-related historical memories by sending an email to Laura Gutschke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 dl beef stock
2-3 small to medium-sized reddish-brown potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (approx. 2 cups)
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-fried diced tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes for a smoother mix)
1 (4-ounce) can green diced chili (highly recommended)
1 1/2 cups half and half (or heavy cream)
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened and cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1. Press sauté to heat the Instant Pot. When the word “hot” appears on the display, add the ground beef and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Press cancel to turn off Instant Pot.
2. Add beef stock to deglaze the bottom of the pan. (Deglaze means using liquid poured over browned ingredients and using a wooden spoon or other utensil to scrape off any caramelized pieces from the bottom of the pan. These pieces add flavor to the dish.)
3. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and the green chili.
4. Secure the lid with the steam valve in the sealed position. Press soup on the display and immediately adjust the timer to 10 minutes. Check that the display light is under high pressure.
5. When the timer sounds, quickly release the pressure and carefully remove the cover. Stir in the cream. Add the cheddar and then the cream cheese in small batches, whisking constantly until the cheeses are completely melted into the soup. Add the granulated garlic and season to taste. Adjust spices if necessary. Top each bowl with some chopped dill pickles if desired. Serves four large portions.
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Laura Gutschke is a general task reporter and food columnist and manages online content for Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally-driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.